History of Gold
The first and most well known use for gold is as jewellery. The Bible mentions gold being used for jewellery as far back as the time of Abraham. In the Egyptian populations, the «ancients» wore gold jewellery. Often, they would bury important people with gold jewellery and masks. Gold is also known to have been used as jewellery in ancient Sumeria, Crete, Greece, England, and China. It is commonly accepted that gold was in fact used to make jewellery everywhere it was available. The metal was, and continues to this day, to be in high demand for its intrinsic beauty both shiny and colorful. Additionally, like diamonds and platinum today, gold is also an assertion of wealth and status.
Pure gold is very soft, making it an easy metal to work with to create intricate piece of jewellery. As a result of gold's softness, it is usually mixed with other base metals to increase its hardness.
What are the different colors of gold?
Gold has an extraordinary heritage with unique qualities. As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow colour, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Although gold is very strong, it's also the most malleable of all precious metals. Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear. It is then alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability.
White gold is not a special form of gold. White gold is a true carat gold, just like yellow carat gold jewellery. The white color is achieved by a careful choice of the alloying metals which bleach the deep yellow of pure gold. White gold for jewellery was developed in the 1920’s as an affordable substitute for platinum. It is often used is settings to enhance diamonds and other gemstones. White gold bridal jewellery is increasingly popular.
White gold and silver jewellery can be plated with rhodium. It is one of the platinum family metals. For technical and economic reasons, white gold is not a ‘good’ white color to be commercialized. It usually has a yellow-brownish tint and this is why jewellery in white gold is often rhodium-plated, to improve its appearance. Rhodium has a high reflectivity and a good metallic white color and is hard with good wear properties. Such a coating, if not subjected to undue abrasion or heat repairs, has a lifetime of 1-2 years before it wears through to reveal the gold alloy underneath. We recommend a good polishing and rhodium plating once every year.
Pink or Rose Gold
At its pure estate, gold is yellow. From there, rose gold does not exist in a pure form. Like white gold, rose gold is obtained from an alloyed mixture. Copper is often the other metal used to produce this luxuriant color. Closer the ratio between pure gold and the alloyed is more the rose color is obvious. Unlikely to white gold, there is no existing coating to do after few years.
Understanding gold purity
The amount of gold in a piece is represented in the karat mark, usually inscribed on the back of the piece (e.g. 24K, 18K, 14K, etc.). In its pure estate, gold is 24K. This way, if a piece is in 18K gold, it means 75% pure gold. The European system uses numbers representing a fraction of 1000, so "750" would be 75% gold, or the equivalent of 18 Karat. In addition to the karat mark, every piece of gold jewellery should be stamped with a hallmark or trademark of its manufacturer and sometimes its country of origin. In Canada, 14K gold, is the most common degree of fineness.
Ainsi nous pouvons résumer les trois types d'or les plus communément vendus:
- 18k gold contains 75% pur gold and 25% of alloys, stamped 750 or 18k
- 14k gold contains 58.3% pur gold and 41.7% of alloys, stamped 583 or 14k
- 10k gold contains 41.7% pur gold and 58.3% of alloys, stamped 417 or 10k
The alloys to obtain 18k, 14k and 10k can inlcude metals such as silver, copper, zinc and nickel depending on which color we are looking to obtain. The nickel included in the mixture to acheive white gold may cause a reaction to those with sensitive skin. Therefore, we offer the possibility to make your jewelry nickel-free by using an alternative alloy, palladium.
Buying gold jewelry
Gold pricing is based on a number of factors, including karat amount (called karatage), gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The karatage and gram weight designate how much gold is in a piece, but they are not the only determining price factors. The craftsmanship and level of detail in a piece are also taken into account.
The most critical thing to look for in buying gold jewellery (aside from the style you like) is the purity of the gold. The higher the gold content, the more valuable it is.
Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend that you remove your jewellery when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster. Also, it is important to spray your perfume or apply your hydrating lotions before wearing your pieces.
To clean gold jewellery, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush. When not worn, store your gold pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.